The Institute of Medicine (IOM) recently reviewed the performance of clinical trials sponsored by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The NCI system flunked. Badly.
My perspective on the issue is shaped by having been:
- a subject in 3 separate clinical trials (1993, 1994 ,1997),
- a patient advocate for a couple of years for NCI trial evaluations
- the patient advocate for one trial's data safety and monitoring board from beginning to end (~7 yrs).
- In 2010, clinical trials are the most advanced tool for learning truths about preventing, diagnosing and treating cancer.
- Our current system is overly cumbersome and inefficient.
- We can't afford not to fix this.
While the NYTimes editorial has an ominous tone throughout, the 63-page report of the committee charged with analyzing barriers to efficiency in our nation's government-sponsored studies gives me hope. We can -- and must! -- solve the problem of inefficiency so that we can solve the problems of cancer and other diseases.
For further information on this issue, I recommend this 3-page report brief.